erik lundegaard

Politics posts

Monday October 22, 2018

Caravans

Yesterday, after listening to NPR, I checked to see how often The New York Times wrote about the caravan to Mexico this month.

From Oct. 1 to Oct. 12? Bupkis.

The first time the story appeared was on Oct. 13, an AP piece entitled “Spontaneous Caravan of Migrants Winds Way Through Honduras.” What did the migrants want? What they usually want: “...reaching a better life in the United States.” Also this tidbit: They organized via WhatsApp chats. Trump isn't mentioned.

The second time, from the same day, Reuters mentions an earlier caravan in April, along with Trump's zero-tolerance policy. 

The next day, the caravan was “growing” and “swelling” as it crossed the Guatemalan border. The day after is when Trump politicized it and the story exploded. 

I don't know what the answer is. You can't let in everyone who wants to come to the U.S. But demonizing the group is obviously a political stunt by Trump to stir up hatred for the midterms—or just generally. Because that's what he does: stirs up hatred. See Stephen King's reaction:

Last night, I came across the following in Jill Lepore’s ”These Truths: A History of the United States,“ about the settling of the Oregon territory, where I live. 

More immediately, [Pres. James K.] Polk wanted to acquire Oregon, an expanse of achingly beautiful land that included all of what later became Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, and much of what later became Montana and Wyoming.

”Our title to the country of Oregon is clear and unquestionable,“ Polk announced, as if willing this to be true. Britain, Russia, Spain, and Mexico had all made claims to the Oregon Territory. Americans, though, had been staking their claim by moving there. They'd been heading west from Missouri along the arduous Oregon Trail, a series of old Indian roads that cut across mountains and unfurled over valleys and snaked along streams. In 1843, some eight hundred Americans traveled the Oregon Trail, carrying their children in their arms and pulling everything they owned in wind-swept wagons. With Polk's pledge behind them, hundreds became thousands. They traveled in caravans, guided by little more than books like Lansford W. Hastings's Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California...

A group of people moving in caravans to new lands and, rather than assimilating, taking it over. Either we don't know our history, or what we fear is ourselves.

Extra credit: They Might Be Giants' ”James K. Polk,“ and Van Morrison's ”Caravan." 

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Posted at 03:21 AM on Oct 22, 2018 in category Politics
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Friday October 19, 2018

These Machines Kill Fascists

These machines kill fascists

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Posted at 07:47 AM on Oct 19, 2018 in category Politics
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Wednesday September 26, 2018

They All Laughed

[Laughter]

Yesterday, Trump gave a speech before the U.N. General Assembly. This is the line that's getting all the attention:

In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. America is so thrilled.

It's getting attention because of what happened next:

[Laughter]

For a moment, Trump actually looked embarrassed. Or angry? His face reddened. As did America‘s—if we could be embarrassed any further. What an idiot. What idiot people around him. He goes to the U.N. to upend longstanding American foreign policy, the basic agreements that have kept our world wars leveled off at II, that have prevented us from finishing and ruining that odious trilogy (cf., “Spider-Man 3”), but first he has to brag about what he thinks he’s done? He tries to get world diplomats to buy into the dumb buzz in his brain? The Bizarro world that he runs because the real world is too difficult? And he thinks they‘ll go along with him as if he’s talking to the dolts at CPAC? 

Hence his next line:

I did not expect that reaction.

Of course not. Because you don't look at the world the way it might be. 

But that wasn't the worst of his speech. The worst of it was the upending of long-standing U.S. and NATO policy. 

For similar reasons, the United States will provide no support and recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority. The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness, and due process. We will never surrender America's sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy. America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism. Around the world, responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from new forms of coercion and domination.

Vladimir Putin couldn't have created a more damaging American president if he'd built one from scratch.

It does seem the way to go, though. Laugh at the fucker. And vote. 

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Posted at 01:29 AM on Sep 26, 2018 in category Politics
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Friday September 21, 2018

Mr. Plow

Mitch McConnell

“Here's what I want to tell you: In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the U.S. Supreme Court. So my friends, keep the faith. Don't get rattled by all this. We‘re going to plow right through it and do our job.”

— Sen. Mitch McConnell, Biggest Asshole in the World, at a summit for social conservatives earlier today. As many have noted, “plowing” a Supreme Court nominee through the process isn’t exactly the smartest language to use considering what Kavanaugh's been accussed of, but what's worse to me is McConnell's admission that due process doesn't matter. Right and wrong don't matter. It's all about power. He has it and he's going to use it as willfully and awfully as possible. As he's done in the past. As he will continue to do until the day he no longer has power. Let's make that day come sooner rather than later. 

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Posted at 10:53 AM on Sep 21, 2018 in category Politics
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Tuesday September 18, 2018

A Housley Divided Against Herself

I spent last weekend in Minneapolis visiting my mother, who suffered a stroke two years ago and a bad bowel obstruction last year. This year she's in pretty good spirits. She's also well cared for at Jones Harrison nursing home near Cedar Lake, for which me, my sister and my brother are forever grateful. 

Yesterday morning, just before heading to the airport, I read a few pieces on the front page of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune—where my father once worked and where my sister now works. The first piece, by Chrisopher Snowbeck, might hit home:

Anxiety, frustration and hints of exasperation are all in the mix as more than a quarter-million Minnesota seniors face the prospect of selecting new Medicare health plans in the coming months. An estimated 320,000 Minnesotans with Medicare Cost health plans must switch to a new policy because a federal law is eliminating the coverage next year across much of the state.

I asked my sister what coverage our mother had but she wasn't sure. We‘ll have to wait and see if she’s one of the 320k forced to do this because of a 2003 law stating that Medicare Cost can't be offered “in areas with significant competition from Medicare Advantage plans.” Why this was so, why it wasn't implemented until 2019, I'm not sure, and few of the news stories are telling. Anyway, it's worrisome.

More worrisome is what Congress might do to Medicare if the GOP maintains control of both houses in the mid-terms. They‘re already talking “reform.” 

The other Strib story, featured more prominently, was the horse race for both U.S. Senate seats: Amy Klobuchar’s (good luck: she's got a 60-30 lead), and the seat formerly known as Al Franken‘s. After the #MeToo non-scandal last year, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith became the appointee, and now she’s running to fill out Franken's term, which ends in 2020. Her opponent is state rep Karin Housley. Smith has a much smaller lead—something like 44-36. According to the Strib poll, Housley does poorly with younger voters, but the highlighted is what really caught my eye:

Just 16 percent of those [younger] voters backed Housley, who did best among voters ages 50-64 and older. Housley has made senior citizen issues a focal point of her campaign. Smith could be the beneficiary of a national Democratic effort to mobilize young voters.

I would really like to know how Housley has made senior citizen issues a focal point of her campaign. Has she stated she won't go along with her party, the GOP, which wants to cut Social Security and Medicare? Which views them as “entitlements”? Which cuts taxes for the superrich and makes up the literal deficit by calling Medicare an “entitlement” and trying to slash it to the bone? There's a real disconnect in our news coverage in all of this.

Anyway, I hope the DFL and Smith make senior citizen issues a focal point of their campaign, too. I hope they hammer Housley on it. 

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Posted at 08:39 AM on Sep 18, 2018 in category Politics
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